Town gives update on 310 Division

At the Council meeting on 31 January, Council asked staff to report back on the situation at 310 Division Street.  Brent Larmer has now written a 25 page report with considerable detail on what’s happening.  There are also 4 draft bylaws to be approved which would implement some of the changes recommended – notably amendments to the “nuisance” by-law to prohibit consumption of controlled or illegal substances in public places.  The report talks about Transition House and the ongoing discussions with the County about various aspects (but not yet with Transition House) .  As Brent says, although looking after homelessness people is the responsibility of the County, there is a large impact on the Town.  There is only one such facility in the County so homeless people from across the County may be housed at Transition House.

In his report to Council on February 28, Brent also makes clear some things that I thought needed to be clarified. Let me summarize:

What is Transition House?

  • It’s emergency shelter for the homeless.
  • It’s “low barrier” although not “no barrier”. Brent notes: “Living in community with other people means following the enforceable principles of a code of conduct which shall be linked to the Town Nuisance By-law.”  See Bylaw 048-2016 as amended in Resources.
  • The current building has 18 shelter beds – 4 rooms with bunk beds ( 3 male/1 female) – and the new will have 35 shelter beds, presumably in 35 rooms.  The other 12 rooms in the property will be for offices for staff including support services.
  • The new one is also a warming and cooling centre.
  • Low barrier means “the most vulnerable community members who face system barriers, have a safe and secure place to sleep and access services. This includes people with disabilities, seniors, those with pets, people from the 2SLGBTQI+ community, and those experiencing mental health and addiction challenges”. That means access is allowed “to those who use substances”.
  • It’s operated by an Independent non-profit organization: Transition House Coalition of Northumberland.  Their web site is here.
  • Funding is by several entities – the largest being the County but others include the Province and the United Way. There’s more on the County’s contribution in their 310 Division Report Package.

Building Ownership, Zoning and Licensing

  • The current Transition house property at 10 Chapel Street is owned by the organization and the new location at 310 Division will also be owned by them (mostly).
  • The property at 310 Division was bought by the County for $2.3M then transferred (sold?) to Transition House but with a vendor take back mortgage.  That means that Transition House will be paying back the mortgage to the County – terms have not been disclosed.  The property at 10 Chapel Street will be sold and the proceeds used to help pay off the mortgage.
  • 310 Division is zoned Main Central Commercial and is within the same zone as 10 Chapel Street. This permits Institutional Uses, including an Emergency Care Establishment.  So there is no re-zoning required.
  • To manage and “police” usage, Staff recommend using licensing.  This would establish operating requirements and an approved operational plan. Failure to comply with the requirements may result in fines/penalties.

Getting the Town, County and Transition House together

Brent reports that there are efforts being made to implement something like the agreement Whitby made with Durham region on their similar case.  His report directly compares the two situations.  (This Cobourg Blog report describes the Whitby agreement.)  Brent includes a comprehensive list of items needed in such an agreement – for example Public and Community Safety requirements. One item that seems to have not got much attention is to have “24/7 onsite private security”.  Brent recommends this – maybe it can be made a condition of licensing.

Supporting Bylaws

Bylaws have been drafted to modify the nuisance bylaw and implement licensing and Council can approve them immediately if they want. See Resources.

The current nuisance bylaw already allows a wide range of behaviors to be managed – included are soliciting, loitering, littering, “fighting, screaming, yelling or using profane or abusive language or gestures”, obstructing and “any other activity or conduct that is disorderly, annoying, unpleasant or obnoxious”.  A new amendment would “prohibit the consuming of illegal drugs in a public place or on private property exposed to public view.”

There are two good things about Brent’s report:

  1. There’s Transparency on what’s happening;
  2. It appears the Town is going in the right direction although it’s not done yet.

Resources

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John Mead
4 months ago

So lets do some Math on the STAFF report to Council on the new and old Transition house proposal: start with St Peters warming room closing. Thats 20 min in the minus column out on the street!
next The old Transition house to close rooms 10 x 4 to a room but ony 50% used equals 20 more spaces gone!
Now the NEW Transition house
12 rooms for admin leaves 24 rooms and the staff report says one person /room Ohps !, something wrong here
of course they will cram 4 to a room ( or more) and adios all those 12 rooms to service the residents will disappear
can the Police cope with a flood of refuge seekers on a rainy morning at 8 am? Every shop door with a recessed entrance will be occupied. Needles will be dropped and the downtown takes another Hit
The only way out is to put a High Barrier on 310 . Lets look after the really needy ,not he self inflicted addicts or those that will not help themselves out of their predicaments. Do not let the County turn our Town into a minefield of their problems
we are notthe biggest fish in the pond but they are indiferent to the real problems facing us and wehad better fight Now or regrett in the future This council needs to look to bring more Youth to Town not OAPs . Our empty Collegiate and its sportsland land could be just the spot for an extension of a University!
As for Brookside ,buy it build a newPolice Hq before you have an ugly subdivision on the best road into Town.

Kevin
Reply to  John Mead
4 months ago

John Mead, I think many people share your concerns about a Low Barrier shelter. In part due to direct observations of what has happened near Transition House, the warming room and the encampment. When Transition House moves the current 18 spaces, in 4 rooms, will be replaced with approximately 35 bedrooms. These rooms were used to house seniors at one per room, as far as I know. Some of the 35 rooms may be used for couples, or possibly even people with pets. The 12 rooms for staff are in addition to the 35 rooms. I am not sure why you think these 12 rooms will ‘disappear’. Perhaps you think so many people will come the 35 rooms will not be enough. As has been witnessed, time and time again, some of the homeless people do not behave in an orderly manor. Stealing, yelling and fighting are common. If too many of these people are in one location it is likely the problems will be significant. But 4 to a room would be 140 people which is far greater than anything we have seen so far. I really don’t think this will happen.
Part of 310 Division is to be used as a warming room with the existing one at St. Peter’s closing. I do not know the current capacity. Nor do I know what will happen at 310 Division in regards to a warming room. You seem to imply people using the Low Barrier shelter will be turned out on the streets at 8:00 am. Maybe that will happen as it does now with the warming room. If more of the people using the warming room get beds in the 35 rooms then maybe there will be fewer people turned out at 8:00 am.
If this is to be successful a big part of the service needs to be drug rehab. A government website puts overdose deaths in Canada at 22 per day, and it is on the rise. Meanwhile, the federal government is looking into a ban on portable electric space heaters because there have been 5 deaths in a 12 year period. If we can’t rely on government to prioritize issues we can at least rely on them to provide questionable decisions to distract from real problems.

Kevin
4 months ago

Upon reading many of the comments it seems to me citizens are concerned about what is happening. I think town and county employees should also be concerned because we do not really know what will happen. In cases like this we assume the worst. And it is really bad!

The Golden Plough is way over budget and time. A quick check provided an $80 million budget which grew to $127M by Nov. 2022. That is to increase the number of beds from roughly 150 to 180. From information I have heard the town seems to be enforcing rooming house rules. This can be good but it could mean more people are put on the street. There are several rooming houses in Cobourg providing housing to a certain segment of the population. Two such places were closed down and sold. Those homes were not safe. How about working with the tenants and landlords to make sure the other rooming houses are safe and do not get closed down? Not the infamous semi-detached ones on John, there are others.

If all the rooming houses are closed down dozens of people, with little ability to afford rent, will be put on the street. They could live in their cars if they had cars. We will need several buildings like 310 Division to house them all. Do we wait for the County to build something? Like the Golden Plough it will take years and cost millions.

It is good to be working on an agreement for 310 Division. But it is sort of like sweeping your floor just before a flood washes through your house. Work with landlords to prevent or reduce the number of people being put on the street. We cannot afford the time and cost of government funded projects, like the Golden Plough.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Kevin
4 months ago

40 % over Budget ???? SOME ONE HAS TO GO
THIS WOULD NOT BE TOLERATED IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR

wHAT ABOUT THE ELGIN & DARCY ST HOUSING PROJECT
I hear thats way over Budget as well ??

Kevin
Reply to  Sandpiper
4 months ago

Sandpiper, if we use the $80M cost as the starting point, the increase in is nearly 60%. And that was November 2022. I do not know the details of any contracts but we did have a wee bit of an issue with Covid which could account for some of the increase. The housing project you mention is over budget from what I have heard as well. It doesn’t look good for any renovations at 310 Division or building new housing. All the good intentions and agreements we get in place will not prevent problems if there are too many homeless people. I have very little faith in our elected and hired government to keep things from getting worse.

small town Ontario
Reply to  Kevin
4 months ago

Why is a government construction project over budget? The contractor bids the job, it is accepted. During the build the government persons start to add on, I suppose thinking it is their own special project. The costs increase, not the fault of the contractor he is doing his job.
But, hey it is all paid for by the taxpayer right.

Sandpiper
4 months ago

There was No density Controls put in place by the Town either at least nothing I spotted
40 Residents its a Feel good number but uncontrolled and not realistic with the number of Homeless out there . There where More Seniors living there
than what is proposed Are we renting Rooms ,Hotel or Apartments Income ?? for profit .

30 % of space is going to staff and other Professionals Is this Rent an office or a Profit sharing operation as Professional Medical Licenced operators will receive payment from OHIP or ODSP etc etc through there
licenced practice & Business Number
or is this just underutilization of space .

Money and Income from the Province is part of this for housing Parolees from the Criminal Justice sys. . Will the residents of Cobourg and the Police Dept be notified when people from the Criminal Justice sys. are released & staying there / in Cobourg and as to the nature of their crimes Pedifiles . Sex offenders etc Some areas do. How about covering all the Bases
for your Residents and Families

Why No input from the Police ODD ??

Sandpiper
4 months ago

There is so much that’s Wrong with this whole situation ‘ It Stinks in fact !
I still can not believe its being Shoved down the throats of the Cobourg Citizens and Residents despite the Over Whelming Opposition .
Turning down a petition despite the fact most of those signatures Came from people that showed up at the Info sessions put on by the County or was it salesman ship by Transition House ??

The Location is all wrong and nothing Like or Compared to the Whitby / Durham site .
Ours is Down Town Business , Residential and School sector and Highly Visible
so the comparison is Mute in many respects .

This is Far from the same sort of Not For Profit operation of Whitby and In fact I would argue the very opposite This will be a Private Group or a horse of a different Colour operating under
a Corporation thats only Asset is Mortgaged by Us through the County .
The County has In fact Washed its Hands of Liability and Responsibility to the residents of Cobourg and the County in what now appears to be a Real Estate Flip to the Shell Operating Corporation . Will there be Personal Guarantees on this Mortgage as would be the Norm

Who will be in place as Permanent Director operating this shell Corporation with No Value or substance . At least the County had substance .

There is No Public supervision as might be through a Church Congregation made of of Local Residents and Citizens that will be directly impacted by such an operation

Will we be able to see the actual Operating statements and Pay rolls or will this to be Hidden

The Insurance $2 Mil is what I am required to carry on my car if used for Business my home has $2 Mil in Liability This is a completely ridiculous and understated figure that merely its an
attempt to make us feel good —- Not Enough for any Medical operation or a LCBO operated facility Any legal actions or law suites brought about by visitors or staff will leave the Tax Payers on the Hook once again for any short falls and Costs . .

The Fines and Penalties Sec 25 .3 & 4 Again Understated and not much more than the new Base Parking Ticket fines that the Town just announced They should be more Robust / Server and inline with the Fines and Criminal Penalties & Charges that out Bars and LCBO establishments face after all Low Barrier may have intoxicated people residing there .

Not For Profit I Think Not —-Citizen Debt Yes

small town Ontario
Reply to  Sandpiper
4 months ago

Yes, there is so much wrong with the purchase and use of this building.
And County and Town taxpayers are on the hook for the whole nine yards.

James Bisson
Reply to  Sandpiper
4 months ago

The attached is from TH 2022 CRA charity filings. You can see the full report here:
https://www.charitydata.ca/charity/transition-house-coalition-of-northumberland/865909386RR0001/
The highly critical Vink report in May, inaction on the Encampment, the purchase of 310 for LBS without alternatives, the public confirmation that 310 going to TH was not set in stone, a consultation process geared to sweeten us swallowing a bitter pill, the offer to Ellis by County while he represented TH, a financial deal washing the County of all accountability as we provide $1.3 million per year of tax dollars to an unaccountable charity that has failed to manage LBS for 5 years only to add another $2.3 million to the deal. All this from non elected bureaucrats and only 1 of 7 County councilors we actually vote for?
You can sign all the agreements and implement by-laws you like, but the record speaks for itself. If we don’t stand up and challenge the County with every means at our disposal, this insanity continues…and the residents of Cobourg pay twice over: financially and socially as the very nature of our Town deteriorates.
How much more are you willing to take before you say enough is enough?

Sonya
Reply to  James Bisson
4 months ago

I already say enough is enough.

Sandpiper
Reply to  James Bisson
4 months ago

I would sure like to see the full Credentials Experience ,and Back ground on all these
Directors and Trustees other than On line courses
along with Pay roll of course Not for Profit ?

Rational
4 months ago

There are two clear positions.

1. The Residents of Cobourg are concerned/downcast (well documented) with the plans for 310 Division and the downward negative impact it will have on Cobourg with it turning into a “Super Encampment” atmosphere.   There is no reason to doubt this based on By Law’s and CPS’s leniency during the past 16 months.

2. The County did not just purchase 310 Division on a whim. This must have been in process for a while, with events then rapidly moving with its’ announcement for a “Low Barrier” Emergency Facility opening in Spring 2024, Reverend Ellis of St. Andrews/Warming Centre and Chair of the Board of Transition House leaving Feb 11th to assume the position of Housing Services Manager Northumberland County, and then 310 being sold/transferred under the control of Transition House. As details became known, we now see how this is all coming together, with the County not changing its position and Cobourg Leadership “window dressing” the seriousness with “Rules” and amending By Laws to pacify Residents/Voters.

IMO what I cannot comprehend is: 1).  If the Residents of Cobourg have such strong concerns over 310 Division being “Low Barrier” and a 24/7 emergency Shelter, why are County and Cobourg Leadership tone deaf and inflexible: and, 2). How could Cobourg Leadership not know 9 months ago, at least, (Mayor is a County Counsellor) about this transaction and not bring it to the attention of Cobourg Residents? (IMO a purchase like this would require County Council discussion/sanction). It simply doesn’t instill confidence.
 
Given how 310 Division is moving I also believe a “Safe Injection Site” will be the next announcement at 310 Division. Why have 12 rooms designated for staff, management and workers, coupled with this being an 24/7 overnight Emergency Facility?
 
As the Bellville Police Chief said last week “At what point do the rights of a few impede the rights of an entire Community”. 

small town Ontario
Reply to  Rational
4 months ago

Town of Cobourg residents will not know what is happening inside 310 Division St.
The leader of the encampment may have his own place and run the show as is happening now.
All elected representatives of this County and Town are turning their heads in the other direction IMO.

Kevin
Reply to  small town Ontario
4 months ago

The leader of the encampment has been able to control a handful of people with mental health and drug addiction issues. Do you really think he will be able to “run the show” at 310 Division? If so they why was he not able to keep the rooming house he lived in running? I do agree some elected representatives are “turning their heads” or really do not understand what is happening.

small town Ontario
Reply to  Kevin
4 months ago

Seriously, a handful of people is 5. Have you seen the encampment lately? It has expanded. We do not know who, what, where, when, why, because Northumberland County Social Service/GWC outreach workers are not able to talk to anyone other than the leader, at least that was reported. The leader was able to keep “the rooming house” running for YEARS. Finally after YEARS of complaints from residents, both at John St. and Battel, petitions were signed, formal meetings were set up with the police chief, hundreds of people turned up, and after years of the landlords NOT co-operating, two were shut down and I think one is sold, Division St.
Who in the end finally brought this crap to closure The residents themselves took action, fed up, their lives turned upside down and not feeling safe.
Yes, elected representatives DO understand what is happening. Ask them when they come around and ask you to vote for them.
I can see the same things happening at 310, if drug addicts are allowed to live at 310.
And it will take YEARS to resolve IMO.

James Bisson
Reply to  small town Ontario
4 months ago

The attached is from the heat map from CPS from Nov 2 to Feb 2. We have no crime reported in my neighborhood since Battell closed after 10 years of siege. The problem was not solved, it was displaced to the Encampment. PL owned 4 locations. 2 were closed, but it all stopped because of the encampment. I believe it’s a front to prevent further actions against drug dealing while the authorities dither. Not a single bust in a camp full of addicts and known drug dealers on video acting like good Samaritans? 310 is not going to stop their tactics. They will have 40+ residents and use the Waterloo ruling to stop an eviction. Say they do go to 310. What then? Open air drug use unless they have an injection site at…the former Th? Hmmm….
Meanwhile the surrounding neighborhoods remain under siege while the County politicians and bureaucrats leave us to live in a sea of crime? At our expense?
my neighborhood is safe. Never again will a drug house be established in my neighborhood as long as I live here. But what about yours? I won’t accept some of us living in peace. We all deserve it.

Kevin
Reply to  James Bisson
4 months ago

James, not that it matters for the point you are making, PL owned 5 properties. She owns both of the semi-detached homes on John St. (maybe they have become one property now but did have separate owners). Both of the closed properties have sold. These are not the only rooming houses in town. If several other rooming houses are also closed there is no way 310 Division will be able to house all the displaced people. Closing rooming houses will, as you say James, displace the problems, not solve them.

James Bisson
Reply to  Kevin
4 months ago

Agreed. I would estimate at this point that we have about 5 locations in the Town that act as “shelters”. There was a video with the “mayor of Camp 413” with Pete Fisher in the Fall. In it, he tells us that PL was being persecuted and goes on to drop 5 names of others harboring the disenfranchised. A little later you see Staples working on the home made latrine. I’m a strong believer in redemption, but I have serious doubts that their intentions are purely benevolent.

Downtowner
Reply to  James Bisson
4 months ago

Yes, self serving individuals..Chris and his partner…who are not at the camp at night..wandering the streets up to J/J ( where Staples is based) like all of the travellers where dealings are completed.Easier commute from the warming hub. It is a well connected network.

Kevin
Reply to  small town Ontario
4 months ago

Yes, seriously. I will give you that the number of people in the encampment is more than a handful. The members of the encampment for the most part are drug addicts and/or have mental health issues. There are no working, taxpaying, ‘normal’ people living there. Is it really much of an accomplishment to be King of Camp 413? At 310 there will be trained people providing services. They have a very difficult task but they will also have rules. Police will be called and the King removed if necessary. There is no way he will take control of 310 Division. Look what happened on William St. when the encampment was there. County employees did not tolerate the behaviour and it was moved. For all we know the King may not find 310 Division suitable for his needs and not move in.
I agree there will be problems and it will take years to resolve. The encampment may be in place for years given the length of time it takes for development in this town. Brookside has to sell, a development plan drafted, approvals, studies, revisions, it will take years.

Pete M
Reply to  small town Ontario
4 months ago

They’re to find a way to keep it out of the public eye.310 Serves that purpose. Out of sight out of mind. They can do their thing behind close doors.

Unfortunately this will not be the case. This will become like the mens shelter in Oshawa at Simcoe and John. They congregate outside and in Memorial Park.across the street.

It basically becomes a no go zone for the general public.

Im surprised that there hasnt been more talk of a safe injection site. May be because it would take away from those community groups that support and encourage public consumption

I

Andre
4 months ago

All success stories have a common element: a personal decision to Transition back to a functioning society member. This always involves leaving addiction behind. Recidivism within a year is high but some people do have that massive inner strength, borne of deciding. I recommend watching interviews on YouTube’s SoftWhiteUnderbelly to gain an empathetic understanding, and a realistic one, of the human condition not visible in most people’s daily life.

No amount of money will help someone who won’t help themselves. The homeless industry is lucrative for the people at the top, since not-for-profit means all profit is absorbed by salaries.

The enablers of addiction, if not merely witless, are in fact victims-by-proxy or anarchists-by-proxy, since they can’t be unaware of the downstream effects of crime, disturbance, or dealers and their tainted drugs.

Toronto’s Leslieville safe injection site has been well documented by journalist Adam Zivo and others as a failed experiment in general, with supporting evidence. Safe supply, which I naively thought could work, has created a new illicit market for hydromorphone, which the addicted trade for the “good” stuff.

My answer is to help people who want help, and offer the choice of rehab or jail for those who habitually abdicate their rights as adults. There is no political will for this in all of North America. Even if resources are infinite, life is short so time is not infinite. Priority tends toward helping the young, as they are our future, and the payoff is huge.

Downtowner
Reply to  Andre
4 months ago

Totally agree, the efforts to address the unhoused, mental health and drug addiction use/sales are all big money makers. Suggests to me why upper tier Government has been so slow to come up with decisions on harder penalties for drug related offences, be it theft, violence or fraud resulting in incarceration (catch and release used now results in return business) and also why encampments have been allowed to grow. Employment opportunities on both sides of this problem…legal and illegal .and the corrective measures have meant more work for social and emergency services. Sad how following the money may clarify solutions or lack there of….at the cost of the many to attempt to satisfy the few. Immediate NEEDS are being addressed to the best ability of the communities ,everywhere, we just haven’t got enough resources to attend to the WANTS…that seem to be outstanding. But then if you or l want for something, we work, plan and save as we were guided to , in our youth.

Andre
Reply to  Downtowner
4 months ago

I’m glad some see what I see.

Just as those who must hit bottom to decide to turn their lives around, so too communities must hit a bottom of chaos before the silent majority eclipses the grifters and opportunists with some tough love policies. An advantage Cobourg has are all the illustrative examples of failed experiments in big cities. Vested interests in those experiments will ineffectively gaslight but politicians who don’t read the room won’t be re-elected. It all must play out.

Rational
Reply to  Andre
4 months ago

Your are right. The Mayor and Council are being extremely “Brass” as they have 2 years and 8 months to the next election. When the next election arrives they will then turn their attention to the “Room” and be here for us – for the 6 weeks of the election run anyway. IMO with what has happened to Cobourg and is going to happen will not be forgotten and they will not be re-elected.

Last edited 4 months ago by Rational
small town Ontario
Reply to  Rational
4 months ago

The next election will probably be Federal.
Just a suggestion, but maybe our elected representatives could ask the illegal encampment residents to volunteer to hand out their brochures, or volunteer to help in their election office. It would keep them busy through the day. All those retired hard working volunteers could have a little break.
I am being sarcastic.

Downtowner
Reply to  Andre
4 months ago

Oh! Believe me ,I and most of my neighbours have seen this situation for what it is all along. When we have pointed out (even counted) the number of emergency service visits to our neighbourhood, reported thefts, identified unsafe living conditions, called police because of curious behaviors ( people high) and all night wanderings…it has taken many man hours to address…. we’ve paid the salaries. The resulting remedies have resulted in new jobs or extended hours for many but no slow down in the outlandish behaviours. We are entering year six in the downtown. Unfortunately, the problem has amplified in the east end of town ….but we still have impact from Transition House and the warming hub( some of the campers spend the night there. Warmer than tents)both in strategic vicinity of the STILL operating drug supply house at James and John. When the other houses closed the tenants moved from there to here,…same landlord….and on it goes. 310 low barrier an accident waiting to happen

Andre
Reply to  Downtowner
4 months ago

D, I’m a taxpayer outside of downtown and looking in: you have my sympathy. In your situation I know I would channel my frustration into a constructive reflexive habit of recording all toward a concise dispassionate website I own (never Facebook etc). My approach to its design would be to say nothing and let the facts alone speak, more than I ever could.

Downtowner
Reply to  Andre
4 months ago

Andre, thank you for your sympathy.Until this autumn all of our five years of complaints, letters and misery went unheard or placated with responses similar to what has developed for residents of the East end with the arrival of the camp. A camp,which l tend to agree with Kevin, may be there quite awhile longer due to the slow engagement of government and enforcement.l have been able to “air” and unload my frustrations attending meetings structured for addressing this monstrous problem and having discussion here with many concerned and compassionate contributors. A platform fairly new to me but greatly appreciated.

Aleta
Reply to  Andre
4 months ago

I agree with you. And just as an added note, the Leslieville neighborhood group has launched a class action suit against the safe injection site, the province and city for allowing the degradation of their area. This will be a very important lawsuit to watch– I predict if they have any success there will be many more lawsuits coming down the road. https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/leslieville-locals-propose-class-action-lawsuit-against-safe-injection-site-where-toronto-mother-was-fatally-shot-in-july-1.6772209

Andre
Reply to  Aleta
4 months ago

Both lawsuits, property values and insurance rates do clarify the mind 🙂
Thanks for the link.

small town Ontario
Reply to  Aleta
4 months ago

So, sad, a young mother lost her life.

Andre
Reply to  small town Ontario
4 months ago

Yes, that is what it took. More than sad. All those vicariously responsible pretend they are not.

Cobourg taxpayer
4 months ago

While I applaud the town in attempting to make its citizens feel “safer” with the new bylaws, I fear that the bylaw enforcement will be reactive rather than proactive. Is enforcement based on calls by the public or observation by officers? I notice 5.1 says enforcement by a bylaw officer or a police officer. I thought police did not enforce bylaws? Of course what ifs are purely speculation, what if the person has no address or refuses to give one? What if they’re fined repeatedly and don’t pay? Some in Cobourg feel those exhibiting the behaviours detailed in the above bylaws are “vulnerable” and I am sure will be seething at these “restrictions “

Merle Gingrich
4 months ago

WOW, way to many Gatekeepers, excuses ,that’s why it takes forever to ” Get it Done” or never get it done.

small town Ontario
Reply to  Merle Gingrich
4 months ago

“too many gatekeepers” resulting in a lot people who will pass the buck, not my job, it’s his/hers.

Give me a break
4 months ago

Wow …. Can you imagine a lineup trying to get in and they are asked ….. are you disabled? ; a senior? ; with or without a pet? ; from the 2SLLBGTQA+ community?; require mental health help? …… will there be a triage or first come first served ….. will these folks be asked if they wish to be on the County’s “by-name list” ( btw: most folks do not know that this exists in our County and the purpose of this list) ….. where do they all go in the morning? ….. why 12 rooms for staff, management and workers? ….. will the parking areas in the back provide lockable storage facilities for folks with buggies? ….. hopefully our Mayor who is part of the County Executive can provide an update periodically at open council meetings and strongly support his taxpayers and residents at the County meetings or alternatively have County CAO provide updates at Council meetings as most folks in the County rarely hear from them other than when garbage tags price is increased or when they dispose of the recycle site …… just saying.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Give me a break
4 months ago

Does the Town / County Really think we Believe this will solve the Homeless Problem we face now or do away with the Encampments What a Con Job We will be come the County Focal Point for Free homeless services and users . With the onset of Summer the Beach will be the perfect place to spend your day time hours .
I do not see the Existing Transition House Programs as having been a success in any way
with No day time operations or activities to keep people on site Not a good situation a head of us .

James Bisson
4 months ago

I read the full report and believe in the remedies that the Town can put in place unilaterally to address a few key issue of concern from the public:
Page 19-20 Nuissance By-law – it was lasted amended in 2023, but excludes public consumption of illegal drugs. There is an amendment draft so that’s remedied.
Page 21 – Business Licensing – the Town has the ability to require Transition House to have a license for operations 310. The license should make TH responsible to pay the fines of it’s residents who are fined under the Nuisance By-Law. Draft by-law in the report as well.
Page 22 Shelter System Review – this report done in May 2023 had 44 recommendations on improving the shelter system. A key takeaway was the lack of measurable outcomes and reporting standards. Those measurable should be included in the licensing to allow the Town to suspend their business license if they fail to meet desired outcomes.
Smoking – given the location of the building, designating a smoking area 9m away from the door will be a significant challenge. Residents will congregate in areas such as Transition House(to be closed) Trinity Church, COSIC, IG, the municipal Parking lot, and at King/Division.
Although an agreement with County is a good approach, I don’t have confidence in the County negotiating in good faith. The comments in County Council, their flawed consultation process, and their lack of providing clear plans to the public on how this will work for the residents and business owners have undermined the public trust. Thankfully, there are actions the Town can take to hold them accountable. Unfortunately, rules don’t stop infractions and fines are little comfort for those who are affected on a daily basis. Given the geography and enforcement requirements (24/7), security will be difficult in a 500m radius from 310.

Andre
Reply to  James Bisson
4 months ago

Amend the amended amendment: “ANY consumption of illegal drugs”.

Downtowner
Reply to  James Bisson
4 months ago

Great observations ,James, also forward thinking to the eventual impact that a shelter operation handled by a thus to far unsuccessful team that has had and is very likely to continue to have on the downtown neighbours and businesses. My opinion that the downtown is NOT the choice for a hybrid shelter service is still held. Of note here ,is the proposal of the city of Belleville to specifically locate their all service venture for their homeless,mental health, and addictions relief outside of the downtown area respecting the businesses and residents. A plan being offered by the Mayor who feels he has the support of his council

Ben
5 months ago

““24/7 onsite private security””

Hmm let’s hope these Security people are trained in mental health issues and don’t operate under arbitrary discipline mandates as they at the warming centre. A recipe for abandonment of the vulnerable!

Last edited 5 months ago by Ben
Downtowner
Reply to  Ben
4 months ago

Ben, you see abandonment. I see adults making poor choices resulting in exclusion from the facilities trying avenues of relief that hinge on Co operation and acceptance of very few codes of conduct and consideration of Co habitants and community. Violence for instance is not abided in our homes so why in shelter settings should it be allowed without consequence?I would call police for protection the security protects the other individuals and staff in the hub. The difference is charges would result in my case….mainly limited exclusion at the hub. Those codes of conduct should be extended to any other service providers or shelter for the safety and protection of staff and clients with the inclusion of all staff being trained in crisis,mental health and first aid.

Ben
Reply to  Downtowner
4 months ago

 with the inclusion of all staff being trained in crisis, mental health and first aid.”

Exactly my point – overnight ‘rent-a-cops’ are not mental health specialists and should not be setting the rules in arbitrary fashions, yet the principle attracts ‘thumbs-downs’, a sad commentary.

Kyle
Reply to  Ben
4 months ago

Maybe the thumbs down are for your disparaging references to security guards who are actually working a very difficult job with little support and much lower pay than police officers.

Ben
Reply to  Kyle
4 months ago

Poorly paid and not trained in mental health issues and unable to discern problems of the mentally ill but still in charge at night, making arbitrary decisions about placements based on disciplinary problems.

Somebody has to make good decisions about the people who work with the unhoused and vulnerable, obviously low pay means bad supervision and more problems.

As you say you only get what you pay for – “Pay peanuts; get monkeys!”

Sandpiper
Reply to  Ben
4 months ago

You mean this place will be run by Untrained ,un educated
un Licenced ???? Professional again

Downtowner
Reply to  Ben
4 months ago

Your synopsis of the situation “Pay peanuts; get monkeys” is truly unkind. These employees are working exactly to the requirements of their hire. I will add that they are WORKING unlike the bulk of of unpredictable clients they are basically babysitting.Focus on the fact that monies are not being allotted wisely …purchase of 310 without plan of action and proper program supplier and trained personnel for one instance…. and campaign for improvement in this area and not dismiss efforts and attempts at addressing humanitarian crisis at our doorstep.Yes it is inadequate but even this is being taken advantage of….don’t worry too much about anyone getting turfed out..they migrate to James and John cussing and fighting all along the street…all through the night. …and to boot drugs for sale to sooth their upset…..just perhaps ,…no pizza and television

Downtowner
Reply to  Downtowner
4 months ago

Also add to above…many of these adult clients are weaponized……the security is not…..so who is really abandoned and vulnerable?

Downtowner
Reply to  Ben
4 months ago

Do not completely agree with the principle of operation attracting a thumbs down attitude. The principle is low barrier with an appreciation and respect of the staff and other individuals at the site. Agree that it is unfortunate that anyone, whatever their state of health or mindset, cannot be addressed individually, especially in a crisis situation and that is indeed a shortfall. However, keep in mind this is an emergency shelter, not a treatment facility and not developed to design a path for individuals…but to protect all individuals . Certainly when there is a violent event or someone dismissing guidelines impacting the well being of others, it needs to be dealt with.These people are adults. The alternative could be incarceration or an institution, neither of which are being exercised at the present.

Gerry
Reply to  Ben
4 months ago

I have seen some of the security officers used in town at the banks; some are so slight in stature that they would be unable to assist anyone in a physical outburst caused by a MH crisis or drug psychosis. This is not the purpose of any of these customarily used companies. All they do is give those who stay there a false sense of security. While I know it is a pipe dream a plain clothes community officer would be a better choice however we all know that won’t be permitted because of triggers.

Sonya
Reply to  Ben
4 months ago

I’m just wondering what is your suggestion Ben for the security of the neighbours that live in the vicinity of transition house. I have a friend that left a business the other day on Division street. It was a beautiful day so she wanted to walk home. There was a shit show on the street in front of transition house with people fighting and yelling and screaming at each other. My friend was lucky to have someone to call and ask for a ride home. Are the neighbours and business owners in this area not vulnerable and deserving of protection? Do you suggest police patrolling the area 24/7?

James Bisson
Reply to  Sonya
4 months ago

Great point Sonya! It’s interesting that Sec 7 of the Charter was used to justify the Waterloo decision. Your point about security of the people impacted by that decision should be brought against the County as it infringes on our right to security under the same Section. If anyone within 500 meters of TH feels their right to security has been undermined, they have a potential case. If you are a low income senior, you can get The Help Centre to provide you with free legal advice. It worked for the Encampment advocates. We’re all equal under the law right?

Dave
Reply to  James Bisson
4 months ago

I read this Blog late last night. I dremt that people were moving away in droves when 310 opened.
No wonder people feel intimadated about this whole project when we have seen the many examples of of non enforcement, assaults, increase in crime around the current shelter. Examples of what happened in other cities to the neighbourhoods when these shelters opened.
There are promises or orderly rules for this facility but will they actually police the offenders to ensure the safety of the neighbourhood or is it all false promise?

Sonya
Reply to  Dave
4 months ago

It’s all smoke and mirrors Dave.

Downtowner
Reply to  Dave
4 months ago

I don’t have high hopes of anything changing, just because the address of this operation is slightly changing. Same operators, same standards of operation, same people refusing the options as unacceptable ,then hanging about demanding more free services.My dream
Is for our downtown returning to a semblance of what was normal for us in the downtown area , as we continue in a nightmare. I still maintain the downtown is NO place for any low barrier operation.We need a facility for the less fortunate but triaged and staffed with professionals and located strategically. There is still going to be a higherarchy of drug dealers and their minions trying to find a house,they don’t pay for to continue, their enterprise of distribution of illegal substances. Maybe there is another landlord that can be seduced into allowing quiet operations like John and James……until they are not quiet and the task force visits and another drug house is closed because of the tenants actions.
What will be the next unsuspecting neighbourhood to be violated with an encampment of adults refusing to play by rules and be supported by a group considering this action as acceptable. If these adults won’t help themselves why are they expecting help?

Cathy
Reply to  Dave
4 months ago

We were told at the meeting at the county building that TH is not responsible for clients outside the premises. Lovely. Residents that live in the immediate area have a right to security of person as well. Adopting the Whitby rules when their shelter hasn’t opened doesn’t sit well. Let’s hope that there are monies in the budget for staff training/hiring. A recent posting for a PT shelter worker with a college/univ degree with rate of pay of $21.50/hour is insulting. I do hope there will be a minimum of 2 staff on midnights for fire/safety concerns.

Sonya
Reply to  James Bisson
4 months ago

They need structure in place that can categorize some type of separation between the needs of the individuals who would be using the facility.
The county and transition house seem to want to just have a place that meets the needs of everyone and lumping all care into one bucket which they have been doing for years now with minimal results of actually getting it’s users into a better social or economical place. They just keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. This time at a larger capacity level.
I believe you are highlighting the issues of the negotiation process and making the community aware that what is being portrayed to the citizens by the County and Transition house members is smoke and mirrors to give the “perception” of security to the community.
During all these processes nowhere has anyone shown the metrics or data where this type of shelter system that is being proposed and essentially pushed forward is actually getting people off the streets, rehabilitating them into mainstream society and offering any type of sustainable future. Is that not the goal?
Thank you for your contribution to this community James.